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Noble's Letter To the Editor,

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Letter to the Editor

Family farmers in Minnesota and throughout the nation lost a champion of economic justice in rural America when Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a tragic airplane crash on October 25th.

Paul Wellstone gladly waded into the fight for justice because he knew it was right. Paul found the issues he championed the old-fashioned way - democratically. He listened to the people. He acted with courage. Along with all who care about justice, democracy, and compassion, family farmers mourn his loss deeply.

Paul's leadership was of both the heart and the mind, and no voice was more effective, more genuine, and more enduring. He stood with us on courthouse steps and Capitol steps in the 1980's, fighting against the foreclosures of family farms by the Farm Credit System, major insurance companies, and the banks - and fighting for fair prices and fair treatment for family farms. He met with us, listened and responded through the years, before he became Senator Wellstone, and after. He stood with us in the the past year, introducing the ban on corporate meatpacker ownership of livestock in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, and fighting hard and winning its passage on the Senate floor over the intense lobbying of corporate agribusiness and proponents of factory farms. He stood firm for the environment as well, becoming a champion of the Conservation Security Program in the 2002 Farm Bill and working to stop huge subsidies for factory farms.

Paul Wellstone was never afraid to speak truth to power. Most importantly, he was never afraid to help ordinary people build real political and economic power against the entrenched monied power of corporate America. Wellstone also shared another thing with family farmers and working people - he did his work despite constant physical pain and long, long hours.

Paul Wellstone is gone, tragically and too soon. What remains is our commitment to justice and democracy, and to finish the chores he started. For Paul Wellstone and family farmers, the passage of the packer ban is both houses of Congress - to really limit the excessive power of multinational corporations over our food and our land - is the most important thing to do to stand up for family farms. This would be a lasting tribute to Paul's memory. Whoever his successor is must carry on that work.

We will continue the good work in the spirit of Paul Wellstone. From the bottom of our heart we thank him and thank Sheila Wellstone for their years of leadership and service. We will work with people from all walks of life to carry it forward.


Linda Noble

Kenyon, MN

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